May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for You rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. Psalm 67:4
The Corona virus pandemic has changed just about everything in the United States, including how people are sworn in as citizens of our nation. Steve Hartman reported on CBS this weekend that “Immigrants who’ve completed all the requirements of citizenship are pulling into parking lots from San Diego, to Des Moines, to Detroit for socially distant naturalization ceremonies.” Drive-thru citizenship ceremonies? Well, in this time of social distancing and health experts’ recommendations not to hold large gatherings to keep from spreading the virus, being sworn in as a new citizen while sitting in your car has been the next best option. One such immigrant, Kwame Asante is from Ghana and came to the U.S. forty years ago. “Just to be an American is like close to paradise,” he told Hartman. “It’s given me so many opportunities.” Asante is a respiratory therapist, one of the “essential workers” smack in the middle of the pandemic. “He says he’s not scared,” Hartman reported, “now that he’s a proud American. ‘Even if I die today,’ Asante says, ‘I’m OK.’”
As a counselor in Minnesota’s state college system for three decades, I was honored to assist students from several dozen nations. They came on student visas, as war refugees, or directly through the immigration process, but most had one common goal: to start a new life in a nation filled with opportunity. I have heard their stories of coming from countries rife with hardship, loss, tragedy, and complete disregard for their human rights. Many endured years in refugee camps with deplorable conditions. What must it have been like to step off an airplane or a ship and take their first look at this proud land which has practiced “the great experiment” called Democracy for nearly two and a half centuries? I was humbled to be at their service during their time at the colleges where I worked.
This Fourth of July, I am reminded that, unless we are one hundred percent Native American, we are all immigrants. Remember Jesus said “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31), calling this “the second greatest commandment” after loving our Lord.
Healing Lord, let us continue to be a nation welcoming immigrants and making them part of “us”. Amen
Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. Meg has written a Christian devotional blog for several years that has been read in over 40 countries by 9000 people. A compilation of blogs, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, was published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she has hopes of completing by Christmas, 2020. Her first book, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, is a memoir about her childhood with an alcoholic mother and a co-dependent father. The book also chronicles Meg’s astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding rapist, a tragedy turned holy, a powerful message of hope in her darkest hour. Meg is a retired college counselor and former social worker. Meg enjoys spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg and her husband Patrick play and sing in the contemporary worship band at their church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. She also volunteers with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .